Archive for the ‘Proverbs 16’ Category

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:3 –Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. 

There are different ways to fail to commit whatever we do to the LORD.

  • Some people commit their work only superficially.  They say the project is being done for the LORD, but in reality they are doing it for themselves.
  • Others give God temporary control of their interest, only to take control back the moment things stop going the way they expect.
  •  Still others commit a task fully to the LORD, but put forth no effort themselves, and then they wonder why they do not succeed.

We must maintain a delicate balance: trusting God as if everything depended on him, while working as if everything depended on us.  Think of a specific effort in which you are involved right now.  Have you committed it to the LORD?

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:22 Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.

Understanding is a huge advantage. Some men are winners; some are losers. Can you measure true success and wealth? Some men have a fountain of life inside them, and they are truly great. Others are full of folly, which leaves them bankrupt and destroys them.

Understanding, the power of right thinking, is a wonderful thing, but only a few have it. Folly, which is ignorant stupidity, governs the thoughts and actions of most men. God inspired Solomon to write Proverbs for you to gain understanding and have a great life.

What is understanding? It is the ability to comprehend and grasp the true nature of a thing. It is the correct and proper analysis of a dilemma, event, or situation that sees all the angles and consequences. It is accurate and intelligent reasoning that arrives at the right conclusion by correctly absorbing all the details of an issue and any possible contingencies. It looks beyond mere appearances to see the true essence of a thing.

What is a wellspring? It is the source or head-spring of a stream; a fountain-head. When used figuratively, a wellspring is a source of perennial emanation or supply. It is a continual or perpetual provision or supply of some thing. Solomon described a wise man’s excellent speech as a wellspring, when he wrote, “The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook” (Pr 18:4).

Understanding is a wellspring of life by providing a perpetual supply of correct analysis and conclusions for life’s numerous dilemmas, situations, and difficulties. The man with understanding can always choose those alternatives that preserve and prosper his life. The man with understanding is rich indeed. He has a treasury of knowledge and knows how to use it to save himself and those around him from death, dysfunction, and trouble.

But consider most men! They do not have a supply of understanding. They are ignorant and stupid. They are fools. Their thoughts, words, and actions are directed by their own foolish thoughts, which lead them into folly and trouble at every turn. Rather than improving their lives, they create dysfunction, havoc, misery, and pain for themselves (Pr 13:15; 19:8). Every time they turn within to find an answer, they come up with insane and profane ideas. Their folly results in dysfunction, fear, trouble, destruction, and death.

Reader! Do not think yourself above the instruction of folly. You came into this world messing on yourself, and without God’s help, you will end up just as foolish. You were born with a deceitful and desperately wicked heart (Jer 17:9), and only a heart transplant by regeneration and conversion can produce understanding. The world and the devil are intent on taking you down to their base, perverse, and rebellious level of thinking.

You can build a wellspring of life. David wrote, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Ps 119:104). And again, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Ps 119:130). The Bible, which has God’s precepts and words, builds understanding. You can understand more than your teachers and the ancients by keeping God’s precepts (Ps 119:99-100). It is God’s words found in the Bible that teach wisdom and understanding (Deut 4:5-8).

Humbly obeying God’s commands and turning away from evil will give understanding (Pr 28:5; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10). This should make perfect sense to you, since it is the infinitely wise God Who inspired the Bible’s words. It begins with the fear of the Lord (Pr 3:3-6; 9:10), and prayer increases it further (Pr 2:2-3; I Kgs 3:9; Col 1:9). It is God’s inspiration that can give a young man the advantage over old men (Job 32:8; II Tim 2:7).

Nabal and his wife Abigail illustrate the difference between her good understanding and his churlish folly (I Sam 25:3). While Nabal put his whole family at risk by being obnoxiously rude to David’s servants, the wise woman preserved her household by godly reasoning with a very angry David. What did the Lord do? He killed Nabal and gave his beautiful wife to David. Her understanding was a wellspring of life to her and her house.

When natural men think, they come up with ideas like evolution and revolution, but men with understanding know both ideas are absurd. Wise men read the Bible and know that all things were created out of nothing by the command of God (Gen 1:1-3; Heb 11:3) and rebellion against civil authority is the nature of a rabid dog (II Pet 2:10-12). They know that capital punishment works, no matter what the ACLU might say (Gen 9:6; Eccl 8:11). And they know that corporal punishment works better than grounding (Pr 13:24; 22:15).

When several worldly men start thinking together, they come up with ideas like same-sex marriages, which a man with understanding hates as an abomination against God and nature (Rom 1:24-27). When you get several women together, they propose the murder of their unborn babies, while demonstrating to save spotted owls and outlaw corporal punishment (Ex 21:22-25; Job 39:13-18). The instruction of fools is folly. If you put such foolish men and women together in a university, then you obtain maximum human folly!

These mindless morons promote labor unions to protect their jobs, which have the very opposite effect of shutting down their companies or exporting that industry to other nations! They reason that WWII brought the prosperity of the 50’s, but are never able to connect the dots to realize that destruction can never bring prosperity! They call Picasso’s confusion art, illiterate rap music, adultery an affair, and sodomy gay. What folly!

The book of Proverbs, which was given to teach understanding (Pr 1:2), teaches men to avoid get-rich-quick schemes (Pr 12:11; 13:11), warns against cosigning (Pr 17:18), teaches how to deal with an offended person (Pr 15:1), warns about the danger of anger (Pr 14:29), and gives the criterion for a great wife (Pr 31:30), among many other lessons.

But understanding goes much further. It includes knowing how the visible universe was created from nothing by God’s command. The man with it knows the cause and cure of death (Rom 6:23). He knows the purpose for man’s existence on earth (Pr 16:4; Rev 4:11). He knows of a spiritual conflict beyond his sight that exceeds any visible event in importance (Eph 6:12). He knows the future of the universe and Who is really in charge!

Fools should be avoided, because their folly will corrupt your good manners (Pr 9:6; 13:20; I Cor 15:33). How can you spot a fool? Listen (Pr 14:7)! A fool cannot control his mouth. He will be pouring out the nonsense that is in his heart (Pr 15:2,28; Eccl 10:12-14). As soon as you detect that a person speaks contrary to God’s word or without study, avoid them and despise them (Is 8:20; Rom 16:17-18; I Tim 6:3-5,20-21; II Tim 2:23).

Stupidity should be against the law: and it is against God’s law (Rom 1:31). God expects you to use the wisdom He offers by His word, pastors, and parents (Pr 1:22-23; 9:1-6). If you do not accept it and seek it, He will laugh at your calamities (Pr 1:24-33; 8:5,36). This is the most important pursuit of your life (Pr 4:5-7; 16:16; 23:23). What hinders you? What distracts you? What deceives you? Seek understanding with all your might.

Once you gain some understanding, you should become a tree of life to those around you (Pr 10:21; 15:4). When others do not know what to do, you should have the certain answers of truth and understanding for them (Pr 22:17-21). Instead of remaining an infant that needs to be taught, you should be growing in understanding to teach others (Heb 5:12-14). Those that know you should seek to you for advice and counsel for their lives.

What will you do today and tomorrow to build a wellspring of life? The future of your life, family, and estate depend on it (Pr 24:3). Even a poor man can have understanding, though poverty usually proves folly (Pr 28:11). God sent pastors to feed you knowledge and understanding (Jer 3:15; Neh 8:7-8). Do you love their reproofs (Pr 15:32)?

You live in the perilous times of the last days, and it is your holy duty before God to be wise and understand what the will of the Lord is for life (Eph 5:15-17). Instead of turning away from the truth to fables like the rest of the Christian world, you must earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jer 6:16; II Tim 4:3-4; Jude 1:3).

Brute beasts have no understanding, no matter what PETA claims (Ps 32:9). But God blinds proud men worse than brute beasts (Is 44:18-20; Rom 1:18-27; Eph 4:17-19). Hyenas and donkeys do not practice same-sex mating and female musk oxen do not eat their young! Do not look for understanding in this world’s educational system, because God has guaranteed to destroy their efforts (I Cor 1:19-20; 3:19-20; Matt 11:25-30).

If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God in sincerity and truth, you have great understanding through the gift of eternal life (I John 5:20). God has opened your heart and mind to know things that are entirely hid from the world. You should always be thankful (II Thess 2:13), for no man can comprehend or discern the things of God without the miracle of regeneration (Ps 14:2; 53:2; John 8:43; 12:40; Rom 3:11; I Cor 2:14).

The Lord Jesus Christ was given great understanding, for in Him was hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Is 11:1-3; Col 2:3). Humble yourself before God and beg Him for some of that wisdom. He will not turn you away or criticize your urgent request (Jas 1:5; Col 1:9-10). Apply yourself to the word of God each day, and give rapt attention to His preachers. You can have a wellspring of life for your great prosperity.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:2 –All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. 

All a man’s ways seem innocent to him.  People can rationalize anything if they have no standards for judging right and wrong.  We can always prove that we are right. Before putting any plan into action, ask yourself these three questions: (1) Is this plan in harmony with God’s truth? (2) Will it work under real-life conditions? (3) Is my attitude pleasing to God?

Do you know yourself? How can you? Your own heart lies to you worse and more than anyone else! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9). David said, “Who can understand his [own] errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults” (Ps 19:12). No man truly knows himself! You do not know yourself!

Of course you think you are clean and right in all your ways. Your self-righteous heart justifies everything you think, say, and do. Your lying heart leads you to all sorts of folly and sin, and you hardly even know it (Pr 16:25; 30:12). But the LORD weighs your secret ambitions and motives, just as He weighed Belshazzar. And He will find you wanting. Then He will purify you in the fiery furnace of affliction.

Though you cannot know the deceitfulness of your heart, the LORD does. The blessed God says to man, “Who can know it?” Then He answers, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer 17:10). All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom you have to do, including the thoughts and intents of your heart (Heb 4:12-13).

You are being weighed now. The scales of holy justice are tipping. Examine yourself. Why are you reading this commentary? How are you reading it? Have you already decided it has nothing for you? Do you think you know your spirit? Is this warning for other sinners, those far worse than you? Do you resent this spiritual warning? Are you thankful to God you are not as wicked as other men? Are you too busy for this spiritual stuff? Are you irritated there is not something new and exciting to tickle your ears?

You foolish person. You deceive yourself. Confess your depravity. Repent of your arrogant self-righteousness. True humility is to fall naked and helpless before the holy God of heaven and confess sincerely, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). So important is this proverb, Solomon gave it to you twice (Pr 21:2).

It is easy to slide through spiritual instruction – to speed read or listen lazily to satisfy a deceitful conscience. It is easy to apply warnings to others – to identify motes at great distances, while missing your own beam. It is easy to despise others – to thank God you are not as disgusting as they are, while your spirit is weighed in heaven as worst of all!

There is nothing worse than self-righteousness. Consider it well. What is it? Thinking you are righteous and justifying yourself against conscience, correction, and conversion. Such a person has no clue they are full of sin, for they have allowed lofty thoughts of themselves to totally distort their judgment. They only use the mirror of God’s word for others, for they do not even see a need for examining their own faces (Jas 1:21-25).

How will you reason with such a person? You cannot point out their sin, for they cannot see it. Their arrogant self-confidence rejects your reasons (Pr 26:12,16; Gal 6:3). And these scorners will hate you for the effort (Pr 9:7-8). They crucified the Lord of glory for exposing their false and hypocritical religion. Every man is a Pharisee in his own spirit.

What is self-righteousness? It is confidence you are good, competent, intelligent, and capable. It is difficulty in saying you are wrong, foolish, stupid, proud, or rebellious. It enjoys finding or discussing the faults of others. It presumes to accuse others, when having its own set of sins. It always has opinions about others’ conduct without Scripture.

It is the defensiveness to resist and balk at correction. It is the presumption of making judgments and opinions against authority. It is the ease with which you can apply a sermon to most anyone else. It is the thought during a sermon that you do not really need change in that area. It is the response that you are comfortable with things as they are.

It is the lack of thankfulness for correction. It may cry defensively when reproved or warned about sin. It responds, “I am just a failure,” when criticized. It is the excuse, “I am not that bad – you just misunderstand me.” It remembers the sins of others when it is being corrected. It may scornfully mention the sins of the person correcting it.

What can you do? Humble yourself and admit you are at least as wicked in all your ways as the worst sinner you know (I Tim 1:15). Confess your self-righteousness as a putrid stench in the nostrils of a holy God (Luke 18:9-14). Admit your righteousnesses are as clean as used menstrual rags (Is 64:6). Beg the LORD to search and reveal your wicked thoughts to you (Job 34:32; Ps 26:2; 139:23-24). Ask for a clean heart (Ps 51:10).

Prove your clean spirit by letting God’s word correct and teach you (Is 66:2). Receive correction without rebelling (Ps 73:21-22). The blessed God never despises a broken and contrite heart (Ps 34:18; 51:17; Is 57:15). If you go down in humble contrition, He will lift you up (Jas 4:10; I Pet 5:6). Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matt 5:3).

You must not defer or minimize self-examination. It is the holy exercise of spiritual men, who rightly understand the deceitful wickedness of their own hearts (I Cor 11:28; II Cor 13:5). Every secret thing will soon be exposed before the holy tribunal of the Lord Jesus Christ. Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts from double-minded hypocrisy through critical and sober repentance (Jas 4:8-10). The Lord will lift you up!

Wise men will recognize that the evil within is more deceitful and dangerous to pleasing God than the evil without. While hatred of this world is a good and godly attitude toward the dangerous temptations there, it is the deceitful lusts in your own heart that are your greatest enemy. Constant vigilance with sincere humility before God will save your spirit. Keep your heart with all diligence to reject any lofty thoughts of self that arise (Pr 4:23).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:1 To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.

Men think and speak freely; they are not forced. But God rules their thoughts and words for His glory and purposes. Man proposes; God disposes. No man can think and speak wisely without God’s grace. No man’s evil thoughts or speech surprise or frustrate God.

Men think and speak freely, without being forced. Some foolishly call this free will, forgetting that they think and speak according to their depraved hearts, which are corrupt, ignorant, deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Rom 3:10-18; I Cor 2:14; Jer 17:9; Ps 10:4). Man’s thoughts and words are slaves to sin and the devil (Eph 2:1-3).

Humble yourself before this glorious and sovereign God. His unique and incredible name is Jehovah, meaning I AM THAT I AM (Ex 3:14; 6:3). Put your trust in Him, call upon Him, obey Him, and thank Him for any preparation in your heart toward Him. If He has convicted you to seek Him and serve Him, it is His loving kindness drawing you to Him.

No man has ever made a choice in his heart or uttered a word with his lips that was not directed and ruled altogether by the Most High. Man thinks and speaks freely, for he feels no pressure but his own desires and motives, but God nevertheless controls every part of the process and uses both the thoughts and the words to accomplish His own purposes. If there is any evil that will not praise Him, He restrains it; He uses all the rest to accomplish His own praise, regardless of what the person thinks (Ps 76:10; Is 10:5-15).

The LORD does not put evil in a man’s heart, for there is enough there already. Scripture is very plain that God does not tempt any man by putting evil in his heart (Jas 1:13-16). But Scripture is just as plain that God uses the evil that is there for His own designs. In fact, if He were not restraining the evil hearts of men, the world would be far worse.

Of course, this glorious doctrine of God’s sovereign government of the world is no longer taught, though it was well understood in prior generations. Most men have rejected a Creator God, and those allowing one do not want Him ruling in their good and evil actions and determining their purpose in life and eternity. They must have free will and free determination of their eternal destiny, or they will reject the doctrine and its God.

Consider the heart. Men think it is their sacred possession that God cannot touch, but the Bible declares otherwise. Solomon, a king himself, wrote, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Pr 21:1). See the comments on 21:1. God hardened Pharaoh’s and other kings’ hearts to do foolish things to their own destruction for His glory and praise over them (Ex 9:16; Rom 9:17).

God ruled the evil hearts of Joseph’s brothers (Gen 45:8; 50:20), Pharaoh (Ex 4:21; 14:4), Sihon (Deut 2:30), the Canaanites (Josh 11:19-20), Eli’s sons (I Sam 2:25), Hadad (I Kgs 11:14), Rehoboam (I Kgs 12:15), Ahab’s prophets (I Kgs 22:22), the kings of Assyria (I Chron 5:26), the Philistines and Arabians (II Chr 21:16), Amaziah (II Chr 25:20), Israel (Is 63:17), the Man of Sin’s dupes (II Thes 2:11-12), and the kings of Europe (Re 17:17).

God can and will judge men for evil thoughts and deeds He used for His own glory, as the Assyrians (Is 10:5-15) and the Jews that crucified His Son Jesus (Acts 2:23; 4:28; Matt 22:1-7). They chose their sinful deeds willingly, so He is righteous to judge them, even though He always uses man’s wrath for His own praise (Rom 9:18-20; Ps 76:10).

He can restrain any man’s heart from doing evil, when He chooses to do so. He withheld King Abimelech from touching Sarah, whom he had taken from Abraham to be his wife (Gen 20:6). And He similarly withheld the Canaanites from desiring the land of Israel, when all the men went up three times a year for the feasts (Ex 34:24). Why does He not restrain all sin like this? Because He is using man’s wrath to His own praise (Ps 76:10)!

God prepared good in the hearts of Israel (I Chron 29:18), Cyrus (Ezra 1:1), Darius (Ezra 6:22; 7:27), Nehemiah (Neh 2:12; 7:5), the psalmist (Ps 119:36), Zerubbabel and the remnant (Hag 1:14), Lydia (Acts 16:14), Titus (II Cor 8:16), and the elect (John 6:45; Heb 8:10; 10:16). If you desire to serve Him at all, He prepared that as well (I Cor 12:3)!

Consider the tongue. Men think their lips and tongues are their own, but that is not what the Lord declares (Ps 12:4). Even Balaam’s dumb ass answered from the LORD (Num 22:28-30; II Pet 2:16). Balaam himself tried to curse, but the Lord brought forth a blessing (Num 23:11-12). Shimei did curse, but it too was from the Lord (II Sam 16:10).

When Caiaphas thought he was conspiring, he was rather prophesying (John 11:49-51). And Peter’s blessed answer was straight from heaven (Matt 16:17). Our Lord’s apostles could speak gloriously without preparation (Luke 21:12-15; Acts 6:10), and they did by God’s power in numerous foreign languages they had never learned (Acts 1:8; 2:1-13).

There is no evil that should frighten or perplex you, for it is all under the governing control of the LORD. And every good and noble thought you have toward heaven, you should give thanks, for God has prepared your heart toward Him (I Chron 29:9,14,18). Run with such a blessing. He does not owe you another convicting thought. Any good thought or confession is proof of His love for you, for He drew it from you (Hos 11:1-4).

No man has ever called on Jesus Christ’s name for salvation, without God first recreating His heart by regeneration. For without the resurrecting power of His quickening grace, you would still hate Jesus Christ with your dying breath (Ps 14:1-3; Is 26:10; Luke 16:27-31; John 1:12-13; 3:3,8; 5:24-29; 6:44-45,65; 8:43,47; 10:26-29; Rom 3:9-18; I Cor 2:14; Eph 2:1-3; Phil 2:13; I John 4:15; 5:1). The idea of free will salvation is preposterous and blasphemous, for it magnifies the clay over the Potter (Rom 9:15-24). It is God’s will that is the determining, originating, moving, and instrumental cause of good (Eph 1:5,11).

Shall you slothfully wait for Him to work in you? God forbid! Such is the wicked excuse of the Fatalist. How do you know He has not already done His work? You are to work out the salvation He has worked in (Phil 2:12). You should keep your heart as firmly as you can and labor as diligently as you can (Jude 1:21; II Tim 2:1-4). But sanctified wisdom, taught by this proverb, gives all the credit and praise to His grace (I Cor 15:10).

Can you change another’s heart? No! Can you help them profess faith that pleases God? Impossible! Only God can change a heart and draw forth a sincere confession. Abraham knew Lazarus coming back from the dead could not help the rich man’s brothers (Luke 16:27-31). Jesus knew that only the prior work of God could cause any to believe Him (John 3:3-8; 6:44; 8:43-45; 10:26-28). Paul knew that his preaching never prepared any man – it only revealed what was there (I Cor 1:18,22-24; 2:14-15; II Cor 2:14-17; 4:1-7).

Bow before this glorious God today. Let Him be your fear and dread (Is 8:13-15). Beg Him for mercy. Trust Him completely. Obey Him unconditionally. Give eternal thanks for any knowledge or desire you have toward Him or heaven. He gave it to you, and He can take it away or increase it more and more. Pray for Him to do further preparations in your heart toward Him, as David prayed (Ps 51:10; 86:11; 119:32,36,80; 141:4).


Under Gods Command
Proverbs 16:13 Kings take pleasure in honest lip; they value a man who speaks the truth.

Put those in power who know how to speak to the purpose. Your lips can promote you. Your speech can win love. Even powerful men appreciate gracious and truthful words. Good speech is a large part of wisdom. A gracious man will rise high among men (Pr 22:11), and a gracious woman will be highly prized (Pr 11:16).

Godly speech will quickly exalt you. Good answers will cause others to want to kiss you (Pr 24:26). The right word at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl (Pr 25:11). A wise reproof to an appreciative hearer is like jewels of fine gold (Pr 25:12).

Your mouth can promote you in position and friends, or it can ruin you in every relationship of life (Eccl 10:12). No matter how good and virtuous your heart and mind, they are revealed best by gracious and truthful speech. Kings were great and powerful in Solomon’s time, but their approval and affection could be won with righteous words. Give God the glory for this wonderful proverb and its valuable lesson for godly speech.

As a proverb, you are to understand the kings under consideration are noble and righteous kings. Profane and wicked kings have little regard for good things, including wise and virtuous speech. Many kings were foolish enough to appoint court jesters and evil counselors! But even pagan kings could appreciate humble and wise words, as Pharaoh listening to Joseph and Nebuchadnezzar listening to Daniel (Gen 41:38-45; Dan 1:18-21).

Consider the power of this proverb. It does not use winning the favor of friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues. It teaches winning the approval and affection of glorious monarchs – a plural number of them at that! Kings had enormous glory, power, and wealth. They held the power of life and death. Their favor was a great blessing (Pr 16:14-15; 19:12; 20:2). Daniel continued through the reigns of several Babylonian kings, a Median king, and into the reign of Cyrus the Persian (Dan 1:18-21; 5:29-31; 6:1-3,28)!

Consider this proverb’s details. Godly kings delight in good speech: they love right words spoken at the right time (Pr 10:20; 15:23; 16:24; 25:11). But not only do they delight in the words, they also love the man that speaks them! The good words and discreet speech please their minds; the speaker wins their hearts (Pr 12:14; 14:35; 24:26). Solomon knew his father David in his youth had won Prince Jonathan this way (Pr 22:11; I Sam 18:1-5).

Reader, would kings love you? Are your words appropriate, cheerful, compassionate, discreet, edifying, encouraging, few, gentle, gracious, helpful, kind, merciful, modest, prudent, righteous, sober, thankful, true, and wise? Or do you argue, backbite, boast, complain, criticize, dominate conversations, flatter, talk foolishly, show disrespect, exaggerate, jest, lie, murmur, repeat yourself, slander, swear, tattle, or whisper?

Promotion is as close as your mouth. King Solomon said death and life are in the power of your tongue (Pr 10:31; 12:18; 18:21). Which will it be for you, death or life? If you want great men to delight in your speech and love your person, then teach your mouth the wisdom of the book of Proverbs (Pr 10:19; 15:28; 16:23; 17:27-28). Joseph, David, Daniel, and Mordecai were able to win the favor and love of kings of all kinds by it.

Better relationships for women are as close as your mouth. Abigail won the heart of David in just a few minutes, in spite of the fact he was filled with furious and murderous thoughts (I Sam 25:23-35). The virtuous woman, good enough to satisfy a queen mother for her son the king, has speech of wisdom and kindness (Pr 31:26). God identified Sarah as a great woman for her humility and reverence to call Abraham lord (I Pet 3:5-6).

Few women today can even come close to these three women. They think they should be loved for spouting off opinions and having saucy retorts in conversation. They complain, criticize, and defend themselves until no one wants to be near them. Then they blame others for not being fair and understanding. If you cannot see the difference between Bible graciousness and modern women, read Solomon’s proverbs about speech again!

God gave Jesus Christ the tongue of the learned (Is 50:4). His words were always gracious and always true (Ps 45:2; Luke 4:22). No man ever spoke like Him (John 7:46)! He won God’s fullest and eternal approval, and He is sat down at the right of God’s throne ruling the universe at this very hour. He is the high King of heaven and prince of the kings of the earth. Will you win His approval and blessing by your speech today?

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

Here is a lesson in personal greatness. How strong are you? What have you achieved? The best test of character is controlling your emotions, especially anger. The biggest achievement you can have is to limit your passions to only those actions that are good.

Every real man wants to be a mighty man of valor. Every real woman wants to be a noble woman worthy of such a man. The Bible records many exploits of mighty men and noble women. But this proverb teaches a greater measure of individual glory – the ability to deny anger and to control your spirit. The man who can resist getting angry or losing control of his spirit is more honorable than men with great military accomplishments.

Consider some mighty men of valor. Gideon defeated a huge army of Midianites with only 300 men, and Jephthah destroyed 20 cities of the Ammonites with a small army. Samson killed 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, and Shamgar killed 600 with an ox goad. Joab took the fortress of Jebus, which became Jerusalem. Adino killed 800 at one time with his spear, and Abishai did the same to 300. Caleb begged for a mountain in Canaan where the dreaded giants lived, and he destroyed them and took their cities.

But you can be greater than these men! You do so by being cautious and slow in getting angry and by controlling and ruling your spirit. It takes more courage, discipline, strength, and wisdom to resist passionate emotions like anger than it does to take a city.

Can you control the violent feelings of anger and keep your spirit calm and wise? Will you? This is how a born fool can be wise and glorious (Pr 14:29; Ec 7:9; Jas 1:19-20). If you defer anger and pass over faults and offences of others, you are glorious (Pr 19:11).

But your spirit screams for a strong response! It hates to be restrained. It must exert itself, in full fury, now! Harsh words burn in your tongue and must be spoken. You tell others you cannot help yourself. You may blame God for giving you a spirit too strong to rule.

The world lies that anger is a trait of mighty men, a right of free men, and a tool of strong leaders. They say venting rage brings relief, but this is only to a depraved soul. If a conscience remains, you are soon grieved at the violence that spewed out of your mouth.

Rather than ruling their spirit, most men are ruled by their spirits. Instead of conquering anger, they become captives of their passions. Instead of thinking before speaking, they speak without thinking by their feelings only, which is highly dangerous and foolhardy.

The battle facing you exceeds any military expedition. A city can be taken with a single siege, but you will fight the passion of anger for the rest of your life. Wars are fought by the efforts of many, but you must fight alone. The vigilance, effort, and patience needed to rule anger causes most men to forfeit the battle and become slaves to their own folly.

The world is filled with illustrations of those who could not rule their spirits. You have them in your own family. You likely have several in your own closet. Alexander the Great conquered the known world, but he could not defeat the brutish beast within that ruined him at home and among his friends. Peter the Great is reported to have said, “I can govern my people, but how can I govern myself?” If you can defeat this monster, you will have a victory over a foe that has destroyed conquerors. You will be a mighty man!

Anger marks a loser. Guaranteed! Anger blinds your mind to misread situations, causes you to say and do stupid things, never accomplishes anything good, and drives away your family and friends (Pr 14:17; 15:18; 21:24; 22:24-25; 29:22). If you get angry and do not rule your spirit, you cannot be compared to a military hero; you must be compared to a city with its walls broken down and vulnerable to all kinds of evil (Pr 25:28; Jas 3:14-16).

Not all anger is sin. Do not let misguided Christians tell you otherwise. Jesus condemned unjustified anger (Matt 5:22), and Paul said to be angry and sin not (Eph 4:26). Anger is good, when it is directed against sin for the glory of God. But anger in a traffic jam, or over spilt milk, or about another’s harsh words against you, or because you were slighted, or in retaliation for a wrong, or because things did not turn out as expected, is wrong!

There are more passions than just anger, and you must also rule them. Moodiness is the mark of an immature child, not a mighty man of valor. Such a person needs a beating, not comforting. Murmuring is the complaining of a wicked heart moving a devilish tongue, which ought not to be. Critical or harsh speech is the poison that spews from a selfish heart. Great men have pure hearts that result in gracious speech (Pr 22:11; Col 4:6).

There are other passions that need to be ruled. Fear is very debilitating, but it has no place in your life, for God has not given you such a spirit (II Tim 1:7), and fearing others will trap you into foolish choices or sin (Pr 29:25). Covetousness, the desire of what others have or what you do not have, is compared to idolatry (Eph 5:5). Contentment, a key to true happiness and a measure of great gain, is your choice (I Tim 6:6; Heb 13:5-6).

What can you do to be great in the sight of God and men? Slow down! Do not ever say or do anything by impulse. Hear things out before you speak. Choose to study every matter before giving your opinion. Wait before reacting, when you hear or experience any negative event. Cut your words in half. Always be gracious in your speech, especially with your family. Let the words of this proverb motivate you to be a mighty man of valor.

But you cannot achieve this victory without help, and that help is in the Lord, His word, and His saints. Paul learned that he could do all things through Christ, Who strengthened him (Phil 4:13). The Holy Spirit, allowed to bear fruit by a holy and submissive life, can fill you with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and so forth (Gal 5:22-23). The Bible can convert your soul by showing the folly of anger and the glory of peace. And brothers and sisters in Christ, when they are doing their duty, can encourage and warn you as needed.

Will the real mighty men of valor please stand up! Will the real noble women of the earth please stand up! You will not have to wait long to face your foe. The Lord Himself will arrange circumstances to test the rule of your spirit. Do not be surprised by anything that happens. Purpose now to be slow and cautious in responding and to rule that unruly fury in your belly and tongue. May the grace of Jesus Christ give you complete victory!

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 16:19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.

Maximize your life! Improve it today! If Solomon compares two things and says one is better, grab it! Choose humility with the poor than to be arrogantly rich with the proud.

See the previous proverb to be warned about the importance of this decision for your life. It says, “Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pr 16:18).

God will judge the proud, because their arrogance is obnoxious to Him. But He will bless and favor the humble by His mighty power (Pr 18:12; 22:4; Is 57:15; 66:1-2; Jas 4:6).

You must do two things to choose this better life for God’s blessings. You must choose a humble spirit for yourself, and you must choose humble friends, even if they are poor.

Here is precious wisdom! Can you grasp it? Will you obey it? The only true God and the wisest king declared a priority for your life to give you contentment and peace! If you want joy and satisfaction, then choose the humble poor for friends over the haughty rich.

After observing and experiencing every advantage his great power and wealth could provide, one of the greatest kings wrote that it is better to humbly enjoy the friendship of poor and modest friends than to be rich and move in the circles of the arrogant proud.

It is better to be poor and humble than rich and proud. The world cannot believe the concept. Will you believe it? They say success and wealth justify arrogance, and associating with movers and shakers is as good as it gets. They are very wrong, and their error will come back to haunt them. Pride is evil enough to destroy any benefit of wealth.

You cannot explain this idea to a worldling. They are busy worshipping their own bellies (Phil 3:18-19)! They cannot grasp why Moses left all the pleasures and treasures of Egypt to suffer with the poor people of God (Heb 11:24-26). But with Jehovah as his friend, he enjoyed greater riches with Israel than any Pharaoh could imagine (Ex 6:1-3; Ps 133:1-3).

What makes great friends? The like precious faith other believers have with you (II Pet 1:1), rather than precious riches the successful have in bank accounts. Rich persons with worldly arrogance never make good friends for godly people (Pr 18:11,23; 28:6,11). The poor make better church members as well, as James clearly described (James 2:1-10).

Where can you find such friends? In a true church of Jesus Christ that loves God and each other like the Bible describes. Forget any church that looks like a personality cult or nightclub act. Reject ritual and formality. Look where walking with God and delighting in Him is emphasized. There are few such churches, but beg God to help you find one.

Why is this priority true? Because pride brings contention and strife, and proud and rich friends will soon conspire to hurt you and take your assets (Pr 13:10; 18:23; 23:1-3,6-8).

Why is this priority true? Because the Lord loves and blesses the humble, but He hates and opposes the proud (Pr 6:16-19; I Pet 5:5-6). What man wants the Lord as his enemy!

Why is this priority true? Because contentment is the key to happiness and success (Eccl 5:10; I Tim 6:6; Heb 13:5-6). The proud and the rich always want more than they have.

Why is this priority true? Because you never lose giving up things for Jesus Christ (Mark 8:34-37; 10:28-30). In fact, the only way to success with your life is to lose it for Him.

Why is this priority true? Because you cannot take riches with you, but the lowly that trust in God have untold riches waiting for them (Matt 6:19-21; II Cor 4:17-18; I Ti 6:7).

Reader! Do you believe the words of Jesus Christ, Who said to seek His kingdom first in your life (Matt 6:33)? Have you found a band of lowly saints with whom you can share the riches of the gospel and the hope of an eternal inheritance? It should be a top priority!